US doctor proposes floating abortion clinic
Following the landmark Roe v Wade reversal by the US Supreme Court, a gynecologist from California has come up with the idea of a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico, which could provide women from “restrictive states” with access to legal and safe care.
The proposal comes after the US Supreme court overturned the 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade on June 24, and in doing so removed federal abortion protections and placed responsibility for legalizing or banning the procedure on individual states. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas swiftly imposed abortion bans. Florida outlawed abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions.
In an interview with Associated Press on Sunday, Meg Autry, an obstetrician and gynecologist who is also a professor at the University of California, said that a clinic aboard a ship in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico would be a good option for women to get early terminations performed safely and legally. She explained that, if her idea became a reality, the licensed providers aboard a boat would offer first-trimester surgical abortions, contraception and other care.
Logistically, it could be easier for some patients to board a ship than to travel to a state where abortions are allowed, Autry claimed.
“This is closer and faster access for some people, particularly for working people that live in the southernmost part of these states,” she said.
Autry’s lawyers, who expect multiple legal challenges from the states, are still working out some important details of the project, such as exact positioning of the proposed vessel and the ways of getting to it.
The idea is still in the fundraising stage, the doctor explained. The non-profit organization established for this purpose is called 'PRROWESS' – short for ‘Protecting Reproductive Rights Of Women Endangered by State Statutes.’
In an interview with NBC News last week, Autry made clear that the project is philanthropic and thus “most individuals will pay little to nothing for services,” she stressed.
She added that in the current situation, thoughtfulness and creativity are paramount “to help people in restrictive states get the health care they deserve.”
“There’s been an assault on reproductive rights in our country and I’m a lifelong advocate for reproductive health and choice,” the doctor explained.
The Supreme Court’s decision to turn the issue of abortion back to the states has been denounced by many women’s rights advocates and by US President Joe Biden, who decried the move, saying that it was a “sad day for the court and the country.”